This creamy Cajun chicken pasta recipe has tender seasoned pan-fried chicken and a luxurious Cajun cream sauce that has a kick!
To ensure we're delivering maximum deliciousness here, there's Cajun seasoning on the chicken itself as well as in the sauce. Spicy cream sauces are the best because the cream helps mellow things out a bit, but you still get that zesty zing.
I also added fresh tomato to the sauce to give it a bit of brightness, color, and texture. A splash of lemon juice and a little Dijon mustard help build those layers of flavor.
You may also like my One Pot Cajun Chicken Pasta from a few years ago (it has similar flavors but is fairly different).
How to make Cajun chicken pasta (overview):
Cut the chicken breasts in half lengthwise (to make 4 thinner cutlets). Season the chicken, then coat it in flour and pan fry in the oil and butter until it's nicely browned and cooked through. Transfer to a plate. Make a sauce in the same skillet by adding the remaining butter, garlic, and flour to make a quick roux. Whisk in the cream, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, and Cajun seasoning. Stir in the fresh tomato, then cook until slightly thickened. Stir in the basil and scallions if using. Toss with drained pasta and serve with chicken on top. (Full ingredients & instructions are in the recipe card below)
Recipe notes & tips:
- I mention this in the recipe itself since it's important, but many brands of Cajun seasoning contain a lot of salt (like Tony Chachere's Original Creole Seasoning, for example), so I use their No Salt variety for this recipe. If you need to use a salty/regular Cajun seasoning, I recommend reducing the quantity by about 50% so the overall dish isn't too salty. I like lots of Cajun seasoning in this recipe, so that's why I opt for the lower sodium one.
- I don't recommend subbing the cream for something lower fat because the sauce may curdle (tomatoes and lemon juice are acidic) and it'll take longer for it to thicken up, so use your discretion if you want to make any swaps.
- You don't need to add the fresh basil, parsley or scallions, but basil especially takes this dish to the next level, so I highly recommend it!
- Shells, penne, or any shape you have in stock is fine.
- Chicken is cooked through when it's 165F in the thickest part. It can go from undercooked to overcooked in a hurry, so I always recommend using an instant read meat thermometer to test it. It takes like 2 seconds and has definitely made me a more confident cook!
- Reheat any leftovers over a low heat to prevent the cream sauce from separating (add a splash more cream if needed).
What to serve with this pasta?
Try some garlic bread or a side salad!
More delicious Cajun-inspired recipes to try:
- Cajun Chicken and Shrimp Alfredo
- Creamy Cajun Chicken
- Easy Chicken Lazone
- Cajun Remoulade Sauce Recipe
- Cajun Garlic Butter Chicken
Have questions about this Cajun chicken pasta recipe? Let me know in the comments below!
Cajun Chicken Pasta
- 8 ounces uncooked pasta
- 2 chicken breasts cut in half lengthwise
- 1/2 tablespoon + 1/2 tablespoon Cajun seasoning (use a low or no salt variety)
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- Salt & pepper as needed, to taste
- Flour for dredging + 1 teaspoon flour divided
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 tablespoon butter divided
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 cup heavy/whipping cream
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard optional
- 1 medium tomato chopped small
- For serving: chopped fresh basil, parsley, scallions, and freshly grated parmesan cheese optional, to taste
- Boil a salted pot of water for the pasta and cook it al dente according to package directions.
- Meanwhile, cut the chicken in half lengthwise so you've got 4 thinner cutlets. Season the chicken with the first 1/2 tablespoon of Cajun seasoning, the garlic powder, and salt & pepper (go easy on the salt if your Cajun seasoning contains some salt), then coat each piece in flour and shake off any excess.
- To a skillet over medium-high heat, add the olive oil and 1 tablespoon of the butter. Let the pan warm up for a few minutes.
- Cook the chicken for 5 minutes/side or until golden and cooked through. Transfer the chicken to a plate and set it aside.
- Reduce the heat to medium, and add the remaining 1 tablespoon butter to the skillet and once it's melted, add the garlic and 1 teaspoon of flour. Let it cook for about a minute, stirring nearly constantly.
- Whisk in the cream, lemon juice, Dijon mustard (if using), and the remaining 1/2 tablespoon of Cajun seasoning.
- Stir in the tomato and let the sauce thicken up a bit (it shouldn't take longer than a few minutes). Add a splash of the hot pasta water if it gets too thick.
- Drain the pasta and add it to the skillet and toss. Stir in the basil/parsley/scallions if using. Taste and season with extra salt & pepper as needed (be generous if your Cajun seasoning doesn't contain any salt). Serve with the chicken sliced on top (or leave each piece whole) and freshly grated parmesan.
- Cajun seasoning can be quite salty, so if you use a regular kind (like Tony Chachere's Original), the recipe will be too salty. If all you have on hand is a regular/salty Cajun seasoning, I recommend reducing the quantity by about 50% so the overall dish isn't too salty.
- Chicken is cooked through at 165F. I use an instant read thermometer to ensure it's perfect every time.
- Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy only and should be construed as an estimate rather than a guarantee. Ingredients can vary and Salt & Lavender makes no guarantees to the accuracy of this information.